“During a war, the media plays a role as force multiplier. It increases the strength of the forces. Winning the war of opinion formation is equivalent to winning the war. Opinion has to be shaped of our own country as well as the country we are fighting against,” said Major General (Retd.) Dhruv C. Katoch, SM, VSM & Editor of ‘Salute Magazine’. He was delivering the ‘Friday Dialogue’ lecture in Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) today. ‘Friday Dialogue’ is the initiative of DG IIMC Prof. Sanjay Dwivedi to arm the IIMC students out of classroom perspective on the issues concerning them.
Interacting with the IIMC students from all six campuses on the topic ‘War Reporting’, General Katoch said today’s media has the most significant role in war, but prior to reporting, sufficient background research is most important. “The army’s structure should be studied. You should be familiar with both your own army and the structure of the opponent’s army. As a reporter, you should be familiar with the rank system of both your own armed forces and the hostile forces. The journalists should be well aware of the equipment used, name of the arms that we and our enemy use. You should be well aware about the terms used for artillery guns. Before going for war reporting, also study the history of the conflict. You should understand the bases of war to respond accordingly, he added.
Major General Katoch said the most important thing is to tell the truth, otherwise you can lose the credibility of your media house and the support of your country while reporting the war. He said the war doesn’t take place 24×7. Hence, as a reporter you should use this break time to interview the officials and create human interest stories. Keep your story alive by living the experience, he added.
The foundation principle of war reporting, according to General Katoch, is ‘truth’, but truth has many sides. So, choose your truth carefully. Consider yourself and the Indian army to be a team; the army has the weapon, and you have the pen, Genal Katoch added.
The discussion was moderated by Prof. (Dr.) Rakesh Goswami, Regional Director of IIMC’s Jammu Campus and the welcome address was delivered by Prof. (Dr.) Pramod Kumar, Dean Students Welfare & HoD, Department of Outreach Activities. Vote of thanks was delivered by Ms. Saloni Saini, Associate in Department of Outreach Activities.